Pride of Saskatchewan

Polischuk makes Saskatchewan proud as member of Canadian national team

Coming off an unprecedented third consecutive Western Women’s Canadian Football League title with the Saskatoon Valkyries, defensive back Carisa Polischuk was ecstatic about the opportunity to represent Canada at the international stage. Making her debut for Canada at the 2013 IFAF Women’s Worlds, she was one of 10 Valkyries named to the final roster.

In Canada’s first game of the tournament (versus Spain), the feeling of excitement and electricity was difficult to contain. As the contest marked the international debut of more than half the players on the roster (including Polischuk), it was a memorable moment.

“The atmosphere was definitely one that is hard to put into words. You just sort of have to be there. But I would describe it as a combination of excitement, nerves, anticipation, and readiness to finally get on the field and play after so much preparation not only in training camp and the practices leading up to the first game but the preparation for the last couple of years leading up to the World Championship.

There was also a great sense of pride putting on our Team Canada jerseys knowing we were just moments away from finally stepping on the field to represent our country.”

With the opportunity to wear number 15 for Canada (the same number she wears with the Valkyries), the training camp would provide the opportunity to make many new friends. As the Canadian roster consisted of 24 players from the WWCFL, 10 from the Montreal Blitz of the IWFL, eight from the Maritime Women’s Football League, along with one player (Lara Guscott) from the Women’s Football Alliance, the diverse number of leagues represented led to a great experience.

“For sure, it was great to get to know and compete with women from the MWFL along with all of the other women playing on other teams in Canada including those that we compete against in the WWCFL.

We had the opportunity to meet a lot of these players at the first try-outs in Montreal and the second try-outs in Moose Jaw but with Team Canada it was a smaller group and we spent a lot of time together and shared so many experiences together in Finland. Many friendships were made and memories that will last a lifetime.”

Having had the opportunity to play in an emotional comeback win against Finland, it would prove to be a character building moment for Polischuk and her teammates. Heading into the third quarter, she believed that the squad could turn things around.

“Yes, I absolutely think that we (as a team) thought we could turn the game around. We knew we weren’t playing to our full potential on either side of the ball and at half time we put the first half behind us and started a new game in the second half. We believed that if we could win the second half, we would win the game.

Our head coach (Jeff Yausie) inspired us during his half-time speech saying that tight games are the most fun football games to play in. Instead of getting angry or telling us what we did wrong, he simply motivated us to play to our potential in the second half and to remember to have fun and smile. It was an awesome speech and I think it worked!”

Having appeared in all of Canada’s games, Polischuk helped the squad to its second consecutive silver medal. With the opportunity to represent Canada, the strong feelings of national pride were among were several moments at the 2013 IFAF Worlds that stood out as a highlight for her.

“There were two highlights that come to mind. One was listening to ‘Oh Canada’ being played before our first game against Spain. It was such an emotional experience hearing and singing along with the national anthem, while watching the Canadian flag and wearing the Team Canada jersey almost having to pinch myself that this was really happening. I will admit that I got a bit teary-eyed. I will never forget how good it felt to be standing on the field so proud to be Canadian.

The second highlight came after our first game with Spain. After beating Spain 50-0 and going through the routine handshakes at the end of the game and heading to our respective sides of the field, our coach huddled us up and was beginning to debrief after the game. Part way through, we saw the entire Spain team run up to half field in a straight line and they just started to clap and cheer for us and they would not stop.

It caught us off guard to see such an awesome display of sportsmanship and we quickly broke our huddle as we wanted to join them and get a picture taken of our two teams together. The Spanish team was ecstatic when they realized we wanted a picture together. They definitely won my heart and the pictures that were taken will forever remind me of this special moment.”

Although the next Worlds are only in 2017, there is no question that competitors like Polischuk will only help to inspire and support Canada’s growing talent pool. As one of the remarkable women leading the way in making tackle football a growing sport among women in Canada, she is a gold medalist in the hearts of many fans.

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”

Photo credit:  Saskatoon Valkyries Football Website


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